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Easy Web Access to Recall and Product Safety InfoPosted October 17, 2016
By Jonathan Karon
From telephones to automobiles, it seems like product recalls are constantly in the news these days. A quick and easy way to find out if a product has been recalled is to go to www.recalls.gov. The web site contains information from six different federal agencies and allows you to research whether your car, drugs you’ve been prescribed or medical devices that have been implanted, household appliances, consumer products, boats, food, cosmetics or environmental products have been subject to a recall.
The six Federal agencies linked to the site are the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (for boating safety recalls). One tab allows you to search for recall information from all six agencies.
The site also contains an easy to use link to a very important database. That’s a feature that allows you to enter the vehicle identification number of your car to find out not only if that make and model has been recalled, but whether the recall repairs on the actual car you own were ever performed. Remember, many cars are on the road that have been subject to a recall, but have not had the necessary repairs performed. So, this site can be very useful if you’re driving or considering buying a used car. To access that feature from the home page, double click on the “Motor Vehicles” tab. Then double click on the “Motor Vehicle Recalls” tab. This will take you to a screen with “Keeping You Safe” at the top, which will allow you to learn if your car has been repaired as part of a safety recall in the last fifteen years. As this information is frequently updated by manufacturers, NHTSA recommends that you periodically re-check it if you think that your car may have been subject to a recall.
The site also has a link to each agency’s website. These can be valuable sources of product information. The Consumer Product Safety Commission site (www.cpsc.gov) provides information on product safety regulations, injury statistics and has a link allowing searches of prior reported product complaints (www.saferproducts.org). The Food and Drug Administration website (www.fda.gov) allows access to detailed product information about prescription drugs and its MAUDE database of adverse event reports associated with medical devices; the EPA website (www.epa.gov) has information concerning pesticides and herbicides and the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration site (www.nhtsa.gov) provides research and standards on traffic and vehicle safety.
Although these sites can’t answer every question, they are a valuable source of product safety information.
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